Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Was Going to Post Today

... but I have just been informed that the inspectors have arrived on the hospital campus and are wandering about sowing chaos. Hopefully they will leave my office alone, but anything could happen. So until they leave ... pray for me!!!

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Searching for The Kraken

A while back I mentioned that there's this new brand of rum out called "The Kraken." Well, after reading BilgeMunkey's review (yes, he finally did get a delivery), I figured that this was well worth trying out for myself. And so began the quest to find the mighty Kraken.

First stop, since I was at work, was the website. After punching in my age, and assuring the beastie that I was (way beyond) 21, I looked for distributers and sales locations in TN (which is definitely not a hotbed of piracy and rum consumption, sadly!). I was frustrated to see that part of the website was down. That left only one option: to sail around until the Kraken was sighted.

One Ring accompanied me on the first stop, a recently remodeled liquor store about a mile from our house. She needed a bottle of wine for some friends, and while she was looking amongst the more socially respectable shelves, I went deep into the depths of the store to find the rum. Alas, my search came up empty. Queries to the owner resulted in a raised eyebrow and a quizzical look, but he did check the website and found that I was not completely mad. He said that he may see it soon, but unless the shipping reps mentioned it, he probably wouldn't end up stocking it.

Yesterday, after a long and frustrating day, I called One Ring and told her that I was making a second journey. She gave her blessing and wished me luck, only requesting that I be careful on the voyage home and not wreck upon the rocks - I believe she used the phrase, "Don't get yerself splatted!"

I hit the store with all the rage of a buccaneer in search of plunder (yes, it was that kind of day). Again, my search was in vain. No sign of the Kraken, and no reports of its whereabouts. So I settled on a nice bottle of Kilo Kai, a rum imported from Curacao. It's a fine dark spiced rum with hints of vanilla and caramel. Whereas many rum brands simply paste a picture of a pirate on the bottle and expect lubbers to flock to the liquor stores and bars to load up on it (I'm talking to you, Captain Morgan!), this rum actually has the flavor to match. The stylized skull and crossbones is a nice touch, though. I mixed it with a coke last night, and found that the combination was just this side of a nice island beach in the Caribbean. BilgeMunky's review was equally favorable towards this brand.

I'm still searching for the Kraken, but I think I've found a nice substitute until the beast is found. Wish me luck!

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

So Much to Say

...but I'm really not sure where to begin.

Like many - if not all - of you, I've been in shock over the last week or so. The earthquake in Haiti has dominated the news, and the reports and images of massive amounts of suffering are numbing. I saw estimates on CNN this morning that have 75,000 dead and over a million homeless. Take into account the wounded, and those who will soon be affected by disease, dehydration, and starvation, and the result is staggering.

And that makes Pat Robertson's comments and Rush Limbaugh's rant even more evil, in my opinion. At a time when we need compassion and a massive outpouring of relief aid and financial support so Haiti may rebuild, we have pundits - certifiable ones at that - trying to grab the limelight with outrageous and uninformed statements. There is simply no excuse, either religious or secular, that can justify such behavior.

Granted, condemnation has come from every corner of the globe - at least the corners unfortunate enough to pick up Robertson and Limbaugh on their TVs or radios. But I feel I must add my voice to the outcry and a prayer that these two, and people like them, can rub two brain cells together and have a rational thought before they open their mouths.

I may post more today - hopefully a more enjoyable and light hearted post - but for the moment work is calling.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Bring Me The Horizon!

Lke everyone else in the U.S., we're caught in that arctic air mass that's bringing the possibility of snow to Orlando and ice to everywhere else in the country. Currently it's snowing, as it did yesterday, but there's no accumulation. Of course, it's also cold as all get out, with temperatures in the single digits, once you factor in wind chill. The drive here was oh, so amusing, as I had to spend longer looking out for ice patches when on the secondary roads, and avoiding the fools who thought that it was still summer and drove like they were trying out for NASCAR. Also fun was the heat in my car, which, due to the extremes in temperatures, was a tad slower to respond to my needs than in other days this winter. This graph clearly shows this fact:

So I was kinda grumpy when I arrived at work. Sleepy, too. One Ring and I stayed up late to watch the Crimson Tide win over the University of Texas. No, I didn't go to Alabama for college, but both of One Ring's parents did, so I am pretty much a fan by default. It doesn't help that Vanderbilt, where I got my masters degree, is also in the SEC, and is embarrassed on a yearly basis by the performance of its football team. So rooting for Alabama is a chance for me to cheer for a team that actually wins games.

But now with college bowl season over, that's one less thing that's nice about the winter time. Indeed, we are now in the doldrums of the season, and my body is feeling the change. I want to curl up under tons of blankets and not move for hours on end. Either that of travel / move somewhere warm. And that means going to the Caribbean, because that's the last place in the Northern Hemisphere that's still warm!

So I did the usual seek and find on the internet - jobs, houses, boats, possible competitive gangs of pirates, etc. And, as expected, no one is hiring. Let's face it, the Caribbean may be my dream home, but in terms of employment opportunities, there's not much there. Not only that, but it sadly appears that I'm roughly 300 years too late. Alas.

I've also burned up all of my vacation time during our trip to Virginia, so it looks like I'm staying put for a while. Still, though, one can dream of sunshine, clear blue waters, and freedom from work!

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Monday, January 4, 2010

I Want Some of This Here Rum!

I'm freezing my tail off at work - apparently someone higher up on the chain of command feels that cold workers work harder. And with the cold comes thoughts of the Carribean, a place I haven't been in far too long. I even tried to find a cruise that would get me away from here, but alas, there's not enough funds to get us on the way.

So the next step was to look at pirate sites to see what's going on with my favorite subject. And over at, I found this:

I have no idea what the stuff tastes like - it could be bilge water for all I know - but I'm tempted to pick up a bottle just for the marketing alone. Check out their website, and you'll see what I mean. Bilgemunky himself hasn't even tried it yet, but check out the package they sent him in order to get his review:

Like I said, brilliant marketing! Maybe some day this blog will be famous enough to rate this kind of service!

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And Life Returns to Normal ...

... whatever that is.

I'm finally back at work - which is why I'm blogging instead of doing what I'm supposed to be doing - and can finally put behind me the chaos that is the holiday season. And while chaos is better than a day at work - where I have more than enough chaos - it is nice to be able to get back into a routine.

But enough small talk. I have a review of a pirate exhibit par excellence!

A couple of days after Christmas, One Ring and I went to Nauticus, the otherwise unmentionable nautical museum in Norfolk, Virginia. However, the exhibit they brought in - the National Geographic sponsored showing of artifacts from the wreck of the pirate ship Whydah - was absolutely phenomenal.

Without going into too much detail about the story of the Whydah itself (there are two links to the right of this page that send you straight to the exhibit, and this one is about the recovery process), I can say that this exhibit was the most detailed of any I have ever seen. It opened with a short film that tells the tale of Sam Bellamy and his untimely death within 500 feet of the coast of Cape Cod. The screen then lifted up revealing the ship's bell, engraved with the name "Whydah," which was all the proof needed to show that this was the first (and thus far only) pirate shipwreck ever discovered.

Although the wreck is spread out over four miles of sea floor, a multitude of artifacts have been discovered. Everything from weapons - cannons, pistols, and sword hilts - to medical supplies. And let me tell you, the sight of those large metal syringes, with needles that looked more like harpoon tips than anything else, made me very queasy! There was even a large chest filled with silver coins. Much to my surprise, having grown up with movies showing pirate treasure being mostly perfectly minted gold coins, these were roughly cut and stamped pieces. Apparently keeping them round like the coins we have today was not so much an issue.

And since the Whydah was first a slave ship, before Bellamy and company took it as a prize, there was an astonishing amount of detail given to the slave trade - how it worked, how slave ships operated, even the shackles used to keep the slaves from jumping overboard and committing suicide (the local religious beliefs held that if one died near ones homeland, that person would be reincarnated as a member of the same tribe). It was very sobering, and actually made Bellamy seem like a hero to have at least taken the Whydah out of the business. In the final part of the exhibit, we read that one of Bellamy's crew, John Julian, who was half Mosquito Indian, was actually sold into slavery. He was hanged in 1733 after an escape attempt in which he killed a bounty hunter who attempted to capture him.

If you get a chance, check out the exhibit. The tour dates are on the website. It's worth every penny.

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